Assam and Arunachal Pradesh boundary dispute

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    In News: 

    Chief Ministers of the Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the presence of Union Home Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding over disputed areas along the roughly 800-km shared boundary.

    Major Highlights of MoU

    • The two states share a roughly 800-kilometer-long border and the disputed areas the MoU deals with are 123 border villages, which span 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and 8 districts of Assam.
    • The state governments agree that no new claim area or village will be added in future beyond these 123 villages.
    • It also states that both governments “agree to effectively prevent any new encroachment in the border areas”
      • MoU is “full and final” in respect to the 123 villages.

    Genesis and Evolution of the dispute

    • The Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary is the longest inter-state border in the Northeast
      • The issue started with a 1951 report which transferred 3,648 sq. km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills to the Darrang and Lakhimpur districts of Assam. 
        • The disputes cropped up in the 1970s and intensified in the 1990s with frequent flare-ups along the border. 
    • Arunachal Pradesh was made a Union territory in 1972 carved out of Assam.
      •  It contended that several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.
    •  After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed, which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal.
      • Assam contested this and the matter went to the Supreme Court

    Efforts to resolve this issue

    • In April 1979, a high-powered tripartite committee was constituted to delineate the boundary on the basis of Survey of India maps, as well as discussions with both sides. 
      • around 489 km of the 800 km were demarcated by 1983-84, futher demarcation could not take place because Arunachal did not accept the recommendations and claimed several kilometers of the 3,648 sq km, which was transferred to Assam in line with the 1951 report.
    • Assam objected to this and filed a case in the Supreme Court in 1989, highlighting an “encroachment” made by Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The apex court appointed a local boundary commission in 2006, headed by a retired SC judge to resolve the dispute between the states.
    • In September 2014, the local commission submitted its report. 
      • Several recommendations were made (some of which suggested Arunachal Pradesh get back some of the territory which was transferred in 1951), and it was suggested that both states should arrive at a consensus through discussions. However, nothing came of it.
    • Namsai Declaration: The Namsai Declaration, which aims to reduce the inter-State border dispute affecting 123 villages, was signed by Assam and Arunachal Pradesh chief ministers in July 2022.
      • The Namsai district in southern Arunachal Pradesh is headquartered in Namsai.

    Importance of Recent MoU

    •  MoU was signed on basis of a ‘give and take’ policy where Assam gave some disputed areas to Arunachal Pradesh and vice versa
    • It’s a historic day for Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It will end the border dispute between both states which had been pending for more than 50 years.
    • The boundary settlement would usher in all-around development and peace in the Northeast.
    • It will strengthen our federal structure as it brings a new paradigm to resolve differences between states 

    Other Inter-state border disputes in India

    Karnataka-Maharashtra

    • The dispute is over the Belgaum district.
    •  The area came under Karnataka in 1956 when states were reorganized and till then it was under the Bombay presidency.

    Assam-Mizoram

    • The border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is a legacy of two British-era notifications of 1875 and 1933.
    • The 1875 notification differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar and the other demarcated boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
    • Assam, on the other hand, wants the boundary demarcated in 1986 (based on the 1933 notification).

    Haryana-Himachal Pradesh

    • The Parwanoo region has had the spotlight over the border dispute between the two states.
    • ·It is next to the Panchkula district of Haryana and the state has claimed parts of the land in Himachal Pradesh as its own.

    Himachal Pradesh-Ladakh

    • Himachal and Ladakh lay claim to Sarchu, an area on the route between Leh and Manali.
    • Sarchu is in between Himachal’s Lahul and Spiti district and Leh district in Ladakh.

    Source:IE